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Tue, 07 Apr 2020
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Corona

New England Journal of Medicine: Coronavirus mortality rate may be much closer to a very bad flu

Coronovirus
© First Handle
The latest threat to global health is the ongoing outbreak of the respiratory disease that was recently given the name Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). Covid-19 was recognized in December 2019.1 It was rapidly shown to be caused by a novel coronavirus that is structurally related to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). As in two preceding instances of emergence of coronavirus disease in the past 18 years2 — SARS (2002 and 2003) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) (2012 to the present) — the Covid-19 outbreak has posed critical challenges for the public health, research, and medical communities.

In their Journal article, Li and colleagues3 provide a detailed clinical and epidemiologic description of the first 425 cases reported in the epicenter of the outbreak: the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, China. Although this information is critical in informing the appropriate response to this outbreak, as the authors point out, the study faces the limitation associated with reporting in real time the evolution of an emerging pathogen in its earliest stages. Nonetheless, a degree of clarity is emerging from this report. The median age of the patients was 59 years, with higher morbidity and mortality among the elderly and among those with coexisting conditions (similar to the situation with influenza); 56% of the patients were male. Of note, there were no cases in children younger than 15 years of age. Either children are less likely to become infected, which would have important epidemiologic implications, or their symptoms were so mild that their infection escaped detection, which has implications for the size of the denominator of total community infections.

Comment: So far, it's proving to be LESS FATAL than an average flu season:

Better Flu Season Than Average? Covid-19 Yet to Impact Europe's Overall Mortality


Biohazard

Long-term analysis shows GM cotton no match for insects in India

indian farmer pesticide
© Glenn Davis Stone/Washington University
An Indian farmer applies pesticide to his cotton field.
Genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton produces its own insecticide. The seeds were introduced in India in 2002 and today account for 90% of all cotton planting in the country. Bt cotton is now the most widely planted GM crop on small farms in the developing world.

In India, Bt cotton is the most widely planted cotton crop by acreage, and it is hugely controversial. Supporters long touted increased yields and reduced pesticides to justify its pickup. But that argument does not hold up under the first long-term study of Bt cotton impacts in India. The analysis is co-authored by a Washington University in St. Louis anthropologist in the journal Nature Plants.

Bt cotton is explicitly credited with tripling cotton production during 2002-2014. But the largest production gains came prior to widespread seed adoption and must be viewed in line with changes in fertilization practices and other pest population dynamics, according to Glenn Davis Stone, professor of sociocultural anthropology and environmental studies, both in Arts & Sciences.

Comment: See also:


Health

How Grandmother's gargling remedy could help abate the coronavirus

salt_water
© Healthy Life Tricks
Many elders remember being told as youngsters to gargle with saltwater to avoid getting a cold or sore throat. Well, guess what? Grandma may not have known why this was a good idea scientifically, but that doesn't make it any less effective.

We also know about the cleaning power of bleach and are using it to sanitize surfaces amid the Wuhan coronavirus. Have you ever wondered why this works? A certain chemical, hypochlorous acid (HOCL), in the bleach kills pathogens, including fungus, bacterium, and virus. Obviously, it is not safe to inhale or ingest bleach. However, we do have an easy and safe alternative.

Cells lining the nose and throat can produce HOCL when they are bathed with chloride. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this exposure is using sodium chloride, better known as salt or saline. The more chloride presented to the cells, the more HOCL they generate.

Comment: Grandma knows best! There are many natural remedies that are both safe and effective, read below for some more examples:


Life Preserver

Boost your immune system with herbs, food, supplements and lifestyle changes!

immune system, immunity
We are continually exposed to organisms that are inhaled, swallowed or inhabit our skin and mucous membranes. Whether or not these organisms lead to disease is decided by the integrity of our body's defense mechanisms, or immune system.

When our immune system is working properly, we don't even notice it. But when we have an under- or over-active immune system, we are at a greater risk of developing infections and other health conditions.

If you are wondering how to boost your immune system, be advised that it doesn't necessarily happen over night. It's a matter of strengthening your immune response with lifestyle changes and the use of immune-boosting antimicrobial and antiviral herbs. But hopefully you find comfort in knowing that your body is made to combat germs and protect your body from harm.

What Is the Immune System?

The immune system is an interactive network of organs, white blood cells and proteins that protect the body from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances.

The immune system works to neutralize and remove pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that enter the body, recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and fight against the body's own cells that have changes due to an illness.

Comment: More information on improving your immune system functioning:


Butterfly

This relaxation exercise can help you fall asleep in 60 seconds

Falling asleep
Numerous people are having sleeping issues lacking enough sleep during the night impeding their proper function during the day. The body needs its rest in order to be healthy and function accordingly.

As per the findings of a recent research conducted by CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 to 19% of all adults in the states report lack of sleep or not getting enough rest almost every day.

Jillian Levy, from CHHC, states the following:
"The broad definition of sleep deprivation is "the condition that occurs if you don't get enough sleep." The amount of sleep that qualifies as "enough" differs depending on who you ask.

But it usually falls between about 7-9 hours per night for adults (and even more for children and teens). However, everyone is a bit different in terms of their ideal amount of sleep. Some need more like 6-10 hours of sleep per night to feel their best. Or, others simply need an extra couple hours of rest on occasion when feeling extra run down.

And many more than this struggle with occasional sleep-related disorders or problems including sleep apnea, anxiety or night time pain that interferes with their overall quality of life."

Comment: See also: Proper breathing brings better health
The Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program is an easy to practice breathing and meditation technique. Stimulate your polyvagal system and breath your way to better health with the Éiriú Eolas program!



Syringe

Barbara Loe Fisher: The National Plan to Vaccinate Every American

vaccines
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health are working with a biotech company to quickly start clinical trials of an experimental messenger RNA vaccine and fast track it to licensure.1 The FDA has not yet licensed messenger RNA vaccines that use part of the RNA of a virus to manipulate the body's immune system into stimulating a potent immune response.2,3

It looks like the coronavirus vaccine will be the first genetically engineered messenger RNA vaccine to be fast tracked to licensure, just like Gardasil was the first genetically engineered virus-like particle vaccine to be fast tracked to licensure.4,5

There likely will be lots of questions about whether the fast-tracked coronavirus vaccine was studied long enough to adequately demonstrate safety, especially for people who have trouble resolving strong inflammatory responses in their bodies and may be at greater risk for vaccine reactions.6,7,8,9,10

Brain

US autism rates up 10 percent in new CDC report

puzzle brain autism
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health contributed to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that finds the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among 11 surveillance sites as 1 in 54 among children aged 8 years in 2016 (or 1.85 percent). This is a 10 percent increase from the most recent report two years ago when it was 1 in 59, and the highest prevalence since the CDC began tracking ASD in 2000. Consistent with previous reports, boys were 4 to 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. The rate for ASD is 1 in 34 among boys (or 2.97 percent) and 1 in 145 among girls (or 0.69 percent).

ASD is a developmental disorder characterized by social and communication impairments, along with limited interests and repetitive behaviors. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving learning, communication, and other skills. Rates have been rising dramatically in the past three decades, but researchers do not know how much of this rise is due to better detection or an increase in "true" cases or both. Technical factors that may be contributing to an increase in ASD include increased awareness, screening, diagnostic services, treatment and intervention services, better documentation of ASD behaviors, and changes in diagnostic criteria. To date, the causes of autism are not completely understood but studies show that both environment and genetics may play a role.

Comment: See also:


Info

High salt diet weakens the immune system

Salt
© Times of India
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system. This is the conclusion of a current study under the leadership of the University Hospital Bonn. Mice fed a high-salt diet were found to suffer from much more severe bacterial infections. Human volunteers who consumed an additional six grams of salt per day also showed pronounced immune deficiencies. This amount corresponds to the salt content of two fast food meals. The results are published in the journal "Science Translational Medicine".

Five grams a day, no more: This is the maximum amount of salt that adults should consume according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). It corresponds approximately to one level teaspoon. In reality, however, many Germans exceed this limit considerably: Figures from the Robert Koch Institute suggest that on average men consume ten, women more than eight grams a day.

This means that we reach for the salt shaker much more than is good for us. After all, sodium chloride, which is its chemical name, raises blood pressure and thereby increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. But not only that: "We have now been able to prove for the first time that excessive salt intake also significantly weakens an important arm of the immune system," explains Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts from the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Bonn.

This finding is unexpected, as some studies point in the opposite direction. For example, infections with certain skin parasites in laboratory animals heal significantly faster if these consume a high-salt diet: The macrophages, which are immune cells that attack, eat and digest parasites, are particularly active in the presence of salt. Several physicians concluded from this observation that sodium chloride has a generally immune-enhancing effect.

Health

Bahrain, Belgium successfully treating coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine

Clinical Tests of Hydroxychloroquines to Fight COVID-19 in Bahrain prove successful
trump chloroquine
Bahrain and Belgium report their hospitals are successfully treating coronavirus patients with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine touted by President Trump as a possible breakthrough in the pandemic.

The Kingdom of Bahrain's Supreme Council of Health chairman said his country was among the first to use the drug and that its impact has been "profound," according to the Bahrain News Agency.

Dr. Shaikh Mohamed, who leads the National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19, was also quoted by the news agency as saying hydroxychloroquine was administered according to the same regimens as those used in China and South Korea.

The first COVID-19 case in Bahrain was reported on Feb. 21, and hydroxychloroquine was first administered to patients showing virus symptoms on Feb. 26. As of March 25, the virus had caused 4 deaths in Bahrain, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Comment:


Clipboard

'Utterly unreliable'! University of Oxford researchers stop relying on WHO for modeling data

world health organization
Our World in Data, an online publication based at the University of Oxford, announced on Tuesday that it had stopped relying on World Health Organization (WHO) data for its models, citing errors and other factors.

The group's founder, Max Roser, said researchers are now using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Until March 18 we relied on the World Health Organization (WHO) as our source. We aimed to rely on the WHO as they are the international agency with the mandate to provide official estimates on the pandemic. The WHO reports this data for each single day and they can be found here at the WHO's site.

Since March 18 it became unfortunately impossible to rely on the WHO data to understand how the pandemic is developing over time. With Situation Report 58 the WHO shifted the reporting cutoff time from 0900 CET to 0000 CET. This means that comparability is compromised because there is an overlap between these two WHO data publications (Situation Reports 57 and 58).

Additionally we found many errors in the data published by the WHO when we went through all the daily Situation Reports. We immediately notified the WHO and are in close contact with the WHO's team to correct the errors that we pointed out to them.

Comment: